A Confutacion of That Popishe and Antichristian Doctryne

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Introductory notes

“Gracious Menewe” was the penname of an unidentified English polemicist (possibly Thomas Becon, 1512/13-1567) who authored two anti-Catholic treatises printed in 1555 by Hugh Singleton, a printer of somewhat dubious reputation. In this treatise, the author presents the Catholic sacrament of the Eucharist (the doctrine of real presence) as the cause of current dearth and famine, punishments imposed by God. The pamphlet illustrates how pervasive and adaptable these images of food shortage were, and how easily providential arguments about dearth could be marshalled to serve contemporary polemics of religion and political order.

A confu
tacion of that Po

pishe and Antichristian doctryne,
whiche mainteineth ye ministracy
on and receiving of the sacrament
under one kind, made Dialoge
wise betwene the Prieste
and the Prentyse by
Gracyous Me
Math. 26.
Drinke ye all of this, for thys is
my bloude whych is of the new
testamente, that is shed for
you, for the remission
of synnes.




The .24. obPriest: Ciprian writeth these things only of them, that did offer: therefore this place appertaineth nothing to the communion.

Answere.Prentise: I wonder yet your witte is so grosse that yet can not see, how the sacrifices of the auncient fathers in Ciprians tyme did in nothyng dyfferre from the communion: there were no private masses used among them, for they dyd afterwardes crepe in, to the greate hinderaunce of the true religion.

Priest: Then bee like there was some kynde of masse in Ciprians tyme. Therfore they that say, that it is a birde of late yeares, do most shamefully belie us. Prentyse. I wyll not now reason of that mater wyth you.

For there is a booke, whych, I truste, shall shortly come abroade in print, wherin al thynges, concernyng your cursed masse, ar so [Page]plainly discussed and set forth, that your Pope catholikes, whiche nowe at thys tyme are so bragge, shall not have one worde to speake. Pryest. Wel, are ye at thys poynte, that ye wyl not receave at all, now at thys blessed tyme?

Prentyse: I have tolde you my mynde, master person, what I intende to dooe.

Prieste: So shal ye bryng your selfe into trouble, and not prevayll.

Prentyse: If it be the pleasure of God to bryng me into any trouble for hys sonne Jesu Chrystes sake, or for his truethes sake, I am assured that he wil not suffer me to be tempted above mi strength, but wyl in the middest of my temptation make awaye, that I maye be able to beare it: that is to saye: thys doe I beleve, that God wil, of his [Page]God measureth hys crosse according to our strengthinfinite goodnesse, measure hys crosse accordyng to my strengthe. Loke what I am able to bear, that wyl hys fatherly and most mercyfull goodnesse laye upon my sholders, if it be expedient for his glory, for the edifying of hys churche and for the salvacion of my soule: and if it be his Godlye pleasure, to encrease hys crosse upon me, he wyll also encrease my strength.

In the meane ceason I know thys to be moste sure, that it is not the way to eschewe trouble, to flee from God or to swarve from his trueth: but rather it is the way and meane to bryng my selfe into a much greater trouble, bothe in thys worlde here, and also in the worlde to come.

And speciallye for thys matter of the sacrament, that now we have in handlyng: I doubt not, but that God will of hys ryghteous [Page]judgemente plage thys wicked worlde wyth great and horrible plagues. 1. Cor. 11.For if the Corinthians, that kepte Chrystes holy institucion whole, were neverthelesse, bee cause they misused themselves in the receaving of the sacrament, so sore punyshed wyth syckenesse, newe diseases & pestilences: what oughte they to looke for, at the ryghteous judgement of God, that so blasphemously prophanate hys sacramentes, takyng away moste sacrilegeouslye not only the one halfe of the matter that the sacramentes are made of, but also the very wordes of the institution? the prophanacion of ye sacramente is the chief cause of our plages. Truely all the plagues, that doe dayly chaunce unto us, as tumulte, sedicion, rebellions, insurrections, famyne and extreme hunger, derth and scarcenesse of al maner of thynges, with innumerable kyndes of newe diseases, that dayly spryng up emong us, oughte to [Page]be imputed to none other thynge, but to thys prophane mutilatyon or manglyng of the sacramente.

Priest: And did not al these plags happen unto us, when ye had the sacrament ministred under both kyndes? What tumultes and insurrectyons have we had in that short tyme, that all thynges were, as ye woulde have them?The chiefe argumente that ye pope catholikes use nowe a daies to diffame What dearth and scarcenesse of victualles have we had ever since? Whereunto shal we impute these thynges? Did not besydes all thys all the chiefe autors of your religion come to an ill ende? recken Anne Boleyne, Cromewel, the duke of Somerset, ye duke of Northumberland, and the duke of Suffolke, that I shoulde in the meane ceason passe them over, that have been burnt as most shamefull heretykes.

Therefore yong man, looke better to your selfe, weigh & consyder [Page]these thinges better in your mind, and returne by tymes, least ye repente your selfe at length of thys your sticneckednesse.

Prentyse: I graunte, that we have had tumultes and insurrectyons in that shorte tyme, that true relygyon was up: but who wer the authors of them? Were they not a sorte of rebellyous Papystes, that caused the insurrectyon in ye weast parte of Englande, for to have put downe true relygyon, and Gods worde?

As for them of Northfolke, it is not unknowen what was ye cause of their rising.

And no doubte it is but that there were many chyldren of Belliall amonge them, that prycked them forewardes: as the devil is alwayes busye to sowe sedicion and [Page]to move mens hartes to rebellion, but most specially, when he seeth, that the world falleth awaye from him, by the preachyng of ye worde of god.

Then doth he bestirre himself, seekyng all meanes possible to bring the gospel into a suspicion or gelousye, and to make men to beeleve that it is a sedicious doctryne: that so by that meane he may enjoy his possession stil.

As long as the world sitteth in darkenesse and in the shadowe of death, runnyng headlong, for lack of the light of goddes worde, into perdycyon: the devill is quiete enoughe, ye shall heare but of few tumultes.

For why? he is then in peasable possession of the worlde: what nedeth he to make any thyng adoe: And as for the derth and scarcenes of victualles, yt we have had ever since, [Page]wherunto shal we impute ye same, but to a sort of Cormarands, which under the cloke of Goddes worde hyded theyr treaterouse covetousnesse? For, thankes bee unto God, there hath ben always great plentie in thys realme, ever since ye true reformacion of the churche, of all maner of thinges, that are necessary for the sustenaunce of man: so that both victuals and other necessary things might have been good cheape, if it had not been for these caterpillers, whyche would rather suffer theyr corne to be eaten with vermine, and theyr cattel to dye of the rote, The cause of ye scarcenes & derth that is now a daies & or sende both corne & cattel over into straunge contreyes, than let theyr poore neyghboures to have any thyng at theyr hands, for a reasonable pryce. Thys hath made this derth, and nothing els. Howbeit I doe not denye but that it is a plage of god, that thus in the [Page]middest of plenty, we suffer suche penurie and scarcenesse: but wherunto shall we impute it, but to our rebellyous heartes, and divelishme stubburnesse, that wold in no wise receave Gods worde, when it was so plenteously offered unto us, but kycked agaynst it, havynge lieffer to fede stil of the coddes & huskes wyth the swyne, than to eate deintye meates in our fathers house? Had ye not masses said in your privi chambers, ye ranke papysts What abomynable Idolatrye, not wythstandyng the shynyng lighte of the gospel, was styll committed by such, as year, in many dark corners of thys realme? And wheras ye say, that al the chiefe authours of our relygyon bee come to an yll ende, recknyng a great many of honorable persons, whych, beyng favourers of the trueth, have gone to wrake here in thys worlde: what maketh that for youre purpose? [Page]Myght I not wyth the same reason diffame the gospel of Chryst, yea and all the scriptures of God also? To what ende, I praye you, came all the Prophetes of God?What the ende of Chryst & of his Apostles hath been here in thys Some of them wer stoned to death, some sawen in two wyth a wooden sawe, some had tente nayles driven throughe bothe theyr temples. And John the Baptyst, the forerunner of Chryste, was he not beheaded? Chryste hymselfe, who is the ende of all Prophetes, was putte to a moste shamefull death, beeyng hanged on a crosse betwyxt twoo theves.

None of all hys holy Apostles dyd escape the cruell tyrannye of thys worlde, that in the meane season I shoulde speake nothynge of so many thousande Martyrs, whose bloode was moste cruellye shedde.

Shall we therfore saye, that the [Page]gospel, and the scriptures of god, are untrue? God forbidde. Priest: Truly yonge man, I am sorye for you. I am affrayde that I shall bee fayne to put you up to my Lorde: then are ye undone. Prentyse: Dooe as ye shall thynke beste. Fare ye well master person: God open youre hearte.

Be ashamed of your doings ye Papystes.

This is a selection from the original text


corn, god, pestilence, water, wine

Source text

Title: A Confutacion of That Popishe and Antichristian Doctryne

Author: Gracious Menewe

Publisher: H. Singleton

Publication date: 1555

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: Wesel

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/home Bibliographic name / number: STC (2nd ed.) / 17821 Physical description: [96] p. Copy from: Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery Reel position: STC / 436:08

Digital edition

Original author(s): Gracious Menewe

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) tp, images: 44-49


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: Britain > pamphlets

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